The “E” Word
Greetings, fellow disciples of Jesus,
Evangelism. The “E” word.
It conjures up images of knocking on a stranger’s door, preaching on a street corner, or handing out tracts at the county fair. Almost nobody feels comfortable in those kind of situations. There are some people with gifts in that kind of ministry; but for most of us such activities are nothing short of scary.
Evangelism does not have to look like the methods described above. Witnessing is about sharing your story of what God has done in your life–sharing your story of faith–with people you already know; people who trust you and with whom you are “doing life.”
But even this more “relational” style of evangelism is intimidating. That’s because at a certain point, we come to realize that we are ambassadors for Jesus and His gospel. We represent His kingdom-building agenda. We are His agents in the field. That means that people get to know about Jesus by watching us, listening to us. We are, as Martin Luther termed it, “little Christs.”
That can be a scary thought because there is not one of us who lives such an exemplary life that we feel comfortable saying to someone, “You want to know what it is to be a Christian, to follow Jesus? Just watch me and do as I do.” Perhaps you feel like you have to get our own spiritual house in order before you are qualified to share your faith. I hear what you’re saying.
But that’s not how Jesus works. He has called sinners the likes of you and me to be His messengers in the world. Remember, the gospel is not a message that proclaims how we Christians are so good. On the contrary, it is a message of God’s mercy to wretched sinners like you and me. As we share the faith with our neighbors, we do so in a state of humble gratitude to God. Evangelism is less like sales and more like “one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
Bringing people into the kingdom isn’t our job—it is the work of the Holy Spirit! That being said, He works through means of your witness and mine, as we share the Word and our story of how God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Knowing that God is at work through our witness may not make evangelism any less uncomfortable, but perhaps it is a little less scary. He who called us to bear witness to His gospel holds us in His hands. He’s got this.
Your fellow ambassador for the reign of Jesus,